Our Portland Tell Me More Tour stop started off with a wonderful discussion between Mark Simpson, Maine Public's News Director, and our Morning Edition team of Irwin Gratz and his producer Willis Arnold and ended with a slew of valuable suggestions on how Maine Public can serve the state more fully.
We learned a lot during the chat amongst the three newsmen. Irwin and Willis each wake up at an incredibly early hour to reach our Portland studio and plan for the day's show. The process that Irwin and Willis use to identify stories is heavy on collaboration and is guided largely by research they do prior to each show on what has happened the day and night before that they believe will be of interest and valuable to listeners across the state. Questions directed to Irwin and Willis revealed that the majority of those present were diehard Morning Edition listeners. Irwin and Willis's dedication to the show and enthusiasm for reporting were quite palpable.
Mark then launched into the meat of our tour stop and with our CEO, Mark Vogelzang, asked attendees questions around what is taking place in their community that Maine Public should be covering. Topics raised include environmental concerns, homelessness, the lack of affordable housing, food shortages, and worries about Maine's economy. These themes are consistent with what we have heard at our other stops.
The group took to heart Mark's final question of how Maine Public could serve them better and offered up some very insightful suggestions: work hard to remain fair and balanced and have opposing views represented whenever possible, provide a voice on our airwaves to immigrant communities and our youth, be the facilitator of real discussions and conversations, focus on engaging a broader cross section of Maine, and set the standard for discourse in Maine. Inspiring input!